Donald Trump criticises Jeff Sessions on Twitter for taking 'weak position' on Hillary Clinton issue

Washington: President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, officials say, and launched a fresh Twitter tirade on Tuesday against the man who was the first US senator to endorse his candidacy.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" Trump tweeted.

The president's anger over Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the government's investigation of Russian meddling in the US election had burst into public view on Monday when he referred to Sessions in a tweet as "beleaguered." Privately, Trump has speculated aloud to allies in recent days about the potential consequences of firing Sessions, according to three people who have recently spoken to the president. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Trump earlier this month assailed Sessions in a New York Times interview for taking himself out of the Russia probe, saying that if he'd known Sessions would choose that course he wouldn't have installed him at the Justice Department. Trump often talks about making staff changes without following through, so those who have spoken with the president cautioned that a change may not be imminent or happen at all. 

His tweet came just hours before his son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, traveled to Capitol Hill to be interviewed about his meetings with Russians.

Trump's rapid-fire tweeting resumed at daybreak on Tuesday, with the president wondering aloud about Sessions' "VERY weak" position on "Hillary Clinton crimes."

In another post to his Twitter account, Trump said, "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign quietly working to boost Clinton. So where is the investigation AG."

Trump's intensifying criticism of Sessions has fueled speculation that Sessions may resign even if Trump opts not to fire him. During an event at the White House, Trump ignored a shouted question about whether Sessions should step down. The attorney general said last week he intended to stay in his post.

If Trump were to fire Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be elevated to the top post on an acting basis.

That would leave the president with another attorney general of whom he has been sharply critical in both public and private for his handling of the Russia probe, according to four White House and outside advisers who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

It could also raise the specter of Trump asking Rosenstein or whomever he appoints to fill the position to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with Trump's campaign.

The name of one longtime Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani, was floated yesterday as a possible replacement for Sessions, but a person who recently spoke to the former New York City mayor said that Giuliani had not been approached about the position.

Giuliani told CNN on Monday that he did not want the post and would have recused himself had he been in Sessions' position.

The president's tweet about the former Alabama senator comes less than a week after Trump, in a New York Times interview, said that Sessions should never have taken the job as attorney general if he was going to recuse himself.

Sessions made that decision after it was revealed that he had met with a top Russian diplomat last year.

Trump has seethed about Sessions' decision for months, viewing it as disloyal arguably the most grievous offense in the president's mind and resenting that the attorney general did not give the White House a proper heads-up before making the announcement that he would recuse himself.


Published Date: Jul 25, 2017 07:48 pm | Updated Date: Jul 25, 2017 07:48 pm


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